Reliving A Feud Volume #38: Hulk Hogan Vs. Ric Flair In WCW ’94 – ‘00
Hulk Hogan had been the face of the World Wrestling Federation for ten years having held the WWF World Championship five times from 1983 to 1993. Following his title defeat at King of the Ring 1993 to Yokozuna, Hogan left the WWF for Hollywood. That lasted a year.
June 1994, Hulk Hogan signs a lucrative deal with World Championship Wrestling to become an active in-ring competitor and quickly gives WCW more publicity than they had ever gotten in the history of their existence. With Hogan’s signing, it allowed a dream match to finally take place on pay per view.
Back in 1991, Ric Flair had jumped to the WWF and had a feud with Hulk Hogan but it never happened on pay per view and instead was only house show matches. They were going to wrestle WrestleMania VIII, but that didn’t happen. So, it took three years for two of the biggest stars in wrestling history to compete in a singles match.
Their first showdown occurred at WCW Bash at the Beach 1994 which saw Hogan win his first WCW World Championship by pinning Ric Flair following a leg drop. The match went over twenty minutes and was actually a fairly good match between the two veterans. It would lead to years of Hogan and Flair battling over the championship.
Flair would lose his mind following the defeat and became desperate to regain the WCW World Championship. He didn’t have to wait very long to get a rematch as he met Hogan at Clash of the Champions 28 on August 24th, 1994. During the show, Hogan was attacked by a masked man hitting him with a tire iron on the knee. The incident involving Nancy Kerrigan and Tanya Harding had recently occurred. The incident made it seem like Hogan wasn’t going to be able to defend the championship later on in the show.
Well, have no fear because Hulkamania can’t stay down for long. Hogan arrived for the main event and put forth a valiant effort to defeat Flair. However, Hogan couldn’t overcome the numbers as Sherri Martel got involved and it led to Hogan being counted out. Sure, Flair won the match but he wasn’t able to win the title on a count out. It has been reported that Flair wanted to win the title here and drop the title in a cage match against Hogan, but obviously that didn’t happen.
There needed to be a third match in the series and it couldn’t have been any ordinary match, especially with all the interference. Thus, a steel cage match was booked for Halloween Havoc to take place in Detroit. Not only was it a cage match, but Mr. T was the special referee. Mr. T is a known friend of Hogan making the match a little weird to have the heel as the underdog. They attempted to put doubt in the mind of the fans when Mr. T was filmed coming out of a restaurant with Flair, but it didn’t do much.
At Havoc, Hogan retained the championship following a leg drop and as per a pre-match stipulation, Flair was forced to retire. However, like a lot of wrestling retirements, it wasn’t going to last very long.
Flair would make his first appearance at the January Clash of the Champions on January 25th, 1995, but didn’t do anything other than sit at ringside. When Hogan fought Vader at Superbrawl V, Flair reappeared and got physically involved attacked Hogan eventually causing Vader to lose the match by disqualification. Flair is still retired at this point.
Flair made another appearance at UnCensored where he was dressed in drag and attacked Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan in their singles matches at the event. In fact, Flair was dragged around the ring at UnCensored causing him to lose the strap match that Vader was involved in. Yes, Flair was dressed up as a woman and lost a strap match to Hulk Hogan, which he wasn’t even legally involved in.
Following UnCensored, Hogan and Savage decided to go to management to get Flair back into WCW so they could resume beating him up. It kind of makes the retirement match back in October really useless. I mean, why want to retire someone and then six months later want them back so you can beat them up again? Also, WCW security was really bad to allow Flair to do all the stuff he did during his retirement.
Flair is reinstated and teams with Vader to battle Hogan and Savage at Slamboree. Of course, Hogan pins Flair following a leg drop. With Flair having lost to Hogan numerous times, he’d steer off and feud with Savage for a few months.
Their next in-ring interaction would be on the December 11th, 1995 edition of WCW Nitro where Hogan teamed with Sting to defeat Flair and Arn Anderson in an enjoyable tag team match. Hogan settled for pinning Anderson instead of Flair.
At Starrcade 1995, Flair won the WCW World Championship for the first time since Hogan had come to WCW. He managed to win a triple threat match against Lex Luger and Sting earlier in the night before beating Randy Savage for the championship in the main event.
Flair started 1996 defending the WCW World Championship against his rival, Hulk Hogan on January 1st. Flair retained the title, but Hogan won the match by disqualification when Arn Anderson got involved with brass knuckles. The following week, Hogan teamed with Savage to defeat Flair and Anderson in another tag match with the same ending of Hogan winning the match with a leg drop. Flair got a bigger tag partner for a tag match against the Mega Powers at Clash of the Champions 32, which saw Flair and the Giant win the match when Flair hit Savage with brass knuckles. By the way, Flair had lost the WCW World Championship on the Nitro before the Clash.
On January 29th, 1996 Ric Flair pinned Hulk Hogan for the first time in his career when he used a high heel stolen from Miss Elizabeth to jab Hogan in the eye with it leading to the successful pin fall. Yes, it took Ric Flair over four years to pin his rival.
They’d meet again in a six man tag match on the February 26th edition of Nitro, which was won by Hogan’s team that included Savage and the Booty Man. However, after the match, Flair handcuffed Hogan to the ropes and whipped him with a strap. It would lead to another six man tag match the following week with straps and lumberjacks. Naturally, Hogan pinned Flair to get his revenge.
On March 18th, Hogan teamed with Savage to battle Flair and Kevin Sullivan in a Texas Tornado match. Oddly, the match ended in a no contest when Brian Pillman got involved by attacking Savage. All of these matches in recent weeks would lead to one of the worst main events not only in WCW history, but professional wrestling history.
That’s right at WCW UnCensored 1996 Hogan teamed with Randy Savage to defeat the Horsemen and the Dungeon of Doom in a Doomsday Cage match. Two guys defeated eight opponents in a multiple layer cage match. Of course, Flair had to get pinned despite there being seven other guys to take the fall.
Luckily for Flair, Hogan would be off television shortly after UnCensored and wouldnt return to WCW until July. You know, that’s when Hogan kind of changed the landscape of professional wrestling when he leg dropped Randy Savage and joined forces with Scott Hall and Kevin Nash to form the New World Order. Yeah, it was kind of a big deal.
Hogan returns and wins the WCW World Championship from Giant at WCW Hog Wild in August. Five days later, Hogan defends his newly won championship against Flair at Clash of the Champions 33. Flair appears to have the match won with the figure four, but a massive brawl involving the NWO and the WCW locker room occurs and the match is thrown out. They’d meet again inside War Games at Fall Brawl 1996 where Hogan’s team defeated Flair’s team when the fake Sting caused Luger to pass out to the Scorpion Death Lock.
Interestingly enough, Hogan and Flair wouldn’t have any singles matches against each other in 1997 or 1998. Flair was working mostly on the undercard while Hogan constantly remained in the WCW World Championship scene during that time.
At the start of 1999, Flair was the WCW President after defeating Eric Bischoff to earn the title. Thus, he had a lot of power. It was arguably the first time NWO was vulnerable.
Ric Flair teamed with his son David Flair to battle Curt Hennig and Barry Windham at Souled Out 1999. Flair had been feuding with Eric Bischoff, which had been a rather personal feud. At the event, Ric and David won the match, but the post match is far more memorable. Hogan came down to the ring and viciously whipped David with a belt while Ric was handcuffed to the ropes and couldn’t do anything.
On the January 25th, 1999 edition of Nitro Flair teamed with Chris Benoit and Steve McMichael to take on Hogan, Kevin Nash and Scott Steiner. Flair won the match by disqualification when Nash hit him with a 2×4. The NWO tried to shave Flair’s hair off, but they were unable to get the act done. At the end of the February 1st edition of Nitro, it was shown that Hogan was stalking David Flair and promised to torture David as the show came to an end and Flair couldn’t do anything to help his son. It was shown as a tease since nothing was shown.
February 8th, 1999 saw Flair team with Steve McMichael to take on the Outsiders on Nitro. Hogan tried to get involved and toss a bucket of bleach into Flair’s eyes, but Flair was able to avoid it. However, McMichael didn’t and got bleach right in the eyes. Six days before Superbrawl, the NWO beat up Flair in a field for several minutes after Eric Bischoff drove a limo to the area. Flair managed to return to the arena, but was once again beaten up by Hogan and his crew. It’s kind of ridiculous when you think about it.
At Superbrawl IX, Hogan successfully retains the WCW World Championship against Ric Flair when Ric’s own son David turned on him when he used a stun gun on his father. The match went about twelve minutes. The night after the pay per view, the NWO mocks Ric Flair with Hogan pretending to be Flair.
Flair reveals on the March 1st edition of Nitro that he had a cage being built that wouldn’t have a door and barbed wire would be covering the top of it. After having a match against Goldberg on March 8th, Flair was beaten down by the New World Order. Flair would battle Hogan inside the barbed wire cage at UnCensored with a first blood stipulation. Flair actually bled six minutes into the match, but the referee, Charles Robinson, refused to ring the bell. The stipulation didn’t make a lot of sense considering Flair won the match by pin fall when Robinson did a fast count on Hogan when he was in the figure four. The point of the match was to switch Flair to heel and make Hogan a face again. Considering what Hogan had done to Flair just a month prior, that kind of baffles me. Regardless, it worked and Flair was now a heel WCW World Champion. Flair was also award the title of WCW President for life.
The following night on Nitro, Hogan teams with Kevin Nash to battle Ric Flair and Goldberg. Charles Robinson was the referee and still refused to count the pin for Hogan. Hogan eventually decked Robinson causing a disqualification. As it pertains to these guys feuding in a one on one situation, this would be their last interaction in 1999. They were part of a four way match at Spring Stampede where DDP won the WCW World Championship and Hogan injured his knee causing him to miss a few months of action.
Hogan left WCW again in October 1999 after his return in July. Hogan came back in February 2000 and had a match with Flair where he won by disqualification. Lex Luger attacked Hogan and smashed his arm in a chair after hitting him with a baseball bat. Flair and Luger had formed an alliance. The following week, Luger lost a steel cage match to Hogan, but along with Flair were able to lay Hogan out. Hogan won his feud with Luger by beating him at Superbrawl X.
March 13th edition of Nitro saw Flair renounce the Horsemen and claim that the team known as Team Package with Lex Luger was replacing the group. That caused Arn Anderson to promise to not get involved with Flair and Hogan at UnCensored. When Hogan came out, he was left laying once again by Flair and Luger. Later on in the show, Hogan used his weightlifting belt in a match against Luger and Flair with Hennig as his tag partner. Two days later on Thunder, Hogan battled Flair and Luger to a double count out in a handicap match when they brawled to the floor.
In what would be their final WCW match, Hogan was able to defeat Flair in the main event at WCW UnCensored 2000 in a strap match. Hogan pinned Flair following a leg drop and touched all four corners.
It’s rather evident that the feud was heavily one-sided especially the first couple of years. It seemed like Flair got some momentum for himself as WCW reached the Monday Night Wars. Their matches from 1994 to 1996 were more enjoyable than their matches from 1999 to 2000. However, the angles that they had in ’99-’00 were more entertaining to me. WCW constantly went back to these guys to deliver memorable programming when they couldn’t figure out where to go with their main event scene. Overall, I enjoyed the Flair/Hogan series and as a kid I remember watching their barbed wire cage match numerous times. It’s not particularly great in hindsight, but the idea of Flair and Hogan working with barbed wire kind of blew my mind as a kid.
What are your memories of Hogan and Flair feuding in WCW?
Thanks for reading.